DIY Buy: Can you buy a home without a real estate agent?

With housing prices on the rise, more and more people are trying to find ways to save on real estate expenses, or at least ensure that the bulk of their hard-earned money goes toward the home’s purchase price. This leads many to ask themselves if it’s actually possible to buy a home without a real estate agent.

The short answer is: Yes, it’s possible. However, it’s not for everyone.

We’ve outlined your homebuying options below, as well as what you can expect from each one. Read them over carefully, and weigh the pros and cons before you decide whether hiring an agent is the right choice for you.

Either way, the most important thing is that you start your home search well aware of what you’re in for.

Weighing your homebuying options

1. Buying with a traditional real estate agent

When working with a traditional real estate agent to buy a home, you will be expected to pay commission fees, which are a percentage of your home price. Most times, your portion of the costs will be baked into what you pay for the home (Learn more about who really pays commission fees here).

A good traditional real estate agent will help find listings, set up showings, gather relevant property info, negotiate with sellers on your behalf, and handle all the paperwork.

It's important to remember that every agent is different.

If you want a lot of face-to-face time and prefer to entrust someone else with your house hunt, you’ll want to hire someone you have a good rapport with.

Be sure to go online and read reviews from past clients for each agent you’re considering. You may also want to bring a few of your top picks in for an interview.

That way, you’ll be able to get a sense of how well you’ll work together.

2. Buying on your own

Buying a home on your own eliminates the need to pay an agent’s commission fees entirely.

However, the trade off to that is that you should be prepared to undertake a lot of the legwork that a buyer’s agent would typically do for his or her clients.

This includes things like searching for appropriate listings, scheduling showings, negotiating offers, connecting with reputable inspectors and mortgage lenders, and navigating the closing process.

Also, keep in mind that buying on your own isn’t entirely fee-free.

If you do decide to go without an agent, it's highly recommended that you connect with an experienced real estate attorney in your area. He or she will be able to handle the contractual aspects of homebuying and can advise you on how to negotiate in your own best interest. Though, these fees typically end up being less than what you would pay in commission.

If you think that you’re capable of flying solo, here are some helpful hints to remember:

  • Search listing websites for open houses. They’re your best bet for viewing a home.
  • When taking to listing agents, make it clear that you intend to buy without representation.
  • Before submitting an offer, have a mortgage lender give you a pre-approval letter. This shows sellers that you are serious and financially capable of buying the home.
  • Have an attorney read over any legally-binding contracts before signing.
  • Make sure your offer specifically states that you’re buying the home on your own and offering this sale price with the knowledge that the seller is not required to pay your portion of the commission fees.

3. Buying through a 3rd party service or digital brokerage

Thanks to technology, there’s officially a middle ground between hiring a real estate agent and going without.

These days, you can find and purchase your home with the aid of a third party like Open Listings.

While these services do charge commission fees, they’re usually far less than traditional real estate agents.

In exchange, they take a lot of the guesswork out of homebuying. For some, the cost is well worth the reassurance of knowing that the buying process will go smoothly.

With apps like ours, you’ll be given a platform from which you can search out the most up-to-date listings, book set-up home tours on-demand, and you’ll have access to a top-rated real estate agent in your area who can answer your questions and draw up the paperwork when you’re ready to submit an offer.

Those thinking of going this route should remember that no two of these programs are alike.

Each one will offer their own services and have a unique fee structure.

Be sure to do your research so that you know exactly what you’re getting for your money before you sign on the dotted line.

You should also be aware of what services won’t be included so that you’ll be ready to account for them when need be.

Have questions on homebuying? Get in touch and schedule a consult, or call us 7 days a week, 7am-10pm PDT at (800) 501-2077.